Plants

Holly berries are deadly . . . right?

Holly berries are deadly . . . right?

If you frequent trendy coffee houses you may be familiar with yerba mate, a caffeinated beverage made from holly’s South American cousin Ilex paraguariensisa. As we all know, just because one member of a family is stimulating, that doesn’t mean another can’t be toxic. But is holly poisonous? […]

Are poinsettias poisonous?

Are poinsettias poisonous?

No. They are not. I was as surprised as anyone to find the poinsettia’s reputation as a snatcher of young lives is undeserved. Why do we all believe it is so dangerous? Almost 100 years ago a child died in Hawaii, and someone said she was poisoned […]

So much less romantic when you know it means “dung twig”

So much less romantic when you know it means “dung twig”

Mistletoe literally means “dung twig,” owing to its usual means of seed dispersal: a bird eats a mistletoe berry, then excretes the seed while alighting on the branch of a tree. The berry is actually a drupe, or stone fruit, and the single seed in […]


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